Magazine article The Spectator

'The Burning Room', by Michael Connelly - Review

Magazine article The Spectator

'The Burning Room', by Michael Connelly - Review

Article excerpt

The Burning Room Michael Connelly

Orion, pp.400, £19.99, ISBN: 9781409145516

'And anything by Michael Connelly' were the final words of advice from one of my best friends in discussing books to read one summer. I've been hooked ever since by a master of narrative tension, complex but believable plotting and three-dimensional characters. Luckily Connelly is a prolific author of detective and investigative fiction with a number of protagonists who sometimes appear in each other's books. His latest novel maintains the same high standard and relentless forward impetus that keeps one turning the pages.

Hieronymous 'Harry' Bosch, a Vietnam veteran, has had a distinguished but somewhat bumpy career as a detective and is now deployed in the Open-Unsolved unit of the Los Angeles Police Department looking at old, cold murder cases. He is nearing retirement but remains an obsessive, thorough investigator whose sole distraction is his teenage daughter. He

has problems with authority, and is rightly cynical about the growing interaction between politics and policing in LA. His motto is 'Everyone counts or nobody counts.'

Connelly has built up a vivid and convincing picture of how the LAPD operates over the previous 18 Bosch novels. We see the often petty jealousies between teams in different units and LAPD's often tricky relationship with the District Attorney's department and the FBI. And in the course of Bosch's career technology in all its forms has become critical, be it forensic expertise, data banks or, whisper it not, the media.

Bosch needs all his resourcefulness as he investigates the death of a musician shot ten years earlier. Historic CCTV tapes reveal the band's trumpeter running off after the shot. Was he the intended victim? If so, why?

Bosch's new partner, Lucia Soto (they tend to change as frequently as his women, but for different reasons), is strangely interested in another unsolved case; the destruction by arson of a rundown flophouse, the Bonnie Brae, where nine children died. …

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